Friday, June 17, 2016

Ponters Pensées 17.6.16

Spanish Weddings: I've attended a few of these and have suffered a spinning head and a loss of hearing for several days thereafter. Here's a guide from The Local on how to approach these, if you're lucky enough to be invited to one.

Tipping in Spain: In places still truly Spanish, this is minimal. As low as the loose change after paying the bill. So 5% is appreciated and 10% leaves the serving staff pretty ecstatic. And very grateful. Not surprisingly, then, there's a concern here in Ponters that the huge increase in tourists and 'pilgrims' this year could change things for the worse. For customers at least. As high levels of tourism always do. I do my bit by pleading with US visitors not to leave anything like their ridiculous level of 20 or even 25% but I might be swimming against a tide. Some of them seem to think it's not merely a gratuitous obligation but the reciprocal of a constitutionally-given human right.

Criminal Spanish Bankers: There are a lot of these but, as Don Quijones, has said, they don't usually get punished for their misdemeanours. Here's one example of nice treatment, pending a (long and unproductive?) trial.

  • Just in case you've read any previous versions of Flexit, here's Flexit v6.
  • And here's Don Quijones on how the Brexit is being used to distract us from continuing bank bail-outs. His/her opening paras: Brexit has become one of the biggest catch-all preemptive scapegoats of recorded human history. Even far beyond the old continent’s porous borders, politicians, central bankers, and economists are warning their respective populations to brace for a serious aftershock if the people of Britain vote to leave the EU. This is is a remarkable feat given that the UK has its own perfectly functioning currency, and as such decoupling from the EU, while bumpy, should not pose an immediate financial threat either to the UK or the EU, let alone the world at large. But try telling that to the eurocrats, politicians, and central bankers whose long cherished dream of creating a seamlessly interconnected, interdependent European superstate appears to be in the process of unraveling.

Soccer Violence in France: This needs no comment from me: Top Russian football official Igor Lebedev not only played down the violence but praised the fans for their actions: "I do not see anything wrong with the fans fighting. Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up" – he tweeted. In an interview given to, Lebedev further explained the behaviour of Russia fans: "The lads defended the honour of their country and did not let English fans desecrate our motherland. We should forgive and understand our fans". Apparently, it's all the fault of the French, for not being sufficiently prepared for the professional thugs. Good to see that RT TV doesn't go quite this far. So, not all bad.

Facebook: Ever more irritating. Yesterday I had to stop following an Egyptian archeology site which I'd never heard of, never mind signed up for. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me there's a less intrusive alternative. So I guess it doesn't yet exist.

Finally . . . A video about Brits in Spain which you might or might not find funny. It's completely wrong in suggesting the Spanish taxpayer pays their healthcare bills. The UK government sends a per capita amount each year – decided by Brussels – to cover these. It's possible the Spanish governemnt does the same for their nationals resident in Britain.

A foto of the group of women (and 1 man) with whom I dined so enjoyably the other night. In front of our Alameda statue of the Heroes of Pontesampaio. These were guerillas who defeated the invading French in a nearby 1808 battle, albeit with a bit of British help. In what the Spanish call The War of Independence and the rest of us know as The Peninsular War. Given that Portugal was involved as well. 

There's no monument to the British, by the way.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Of course, our good Yankee Cousins from across the sea tip so much because they are used to a system in which the waiter or waitress gets no regular salary but depends on the tips for his or her income. They mean the best… They just don't understand us sophisticated Europeans (and Brits) very well…

And what, pray tell, is wrong with Egyptian Archaeology?? It is the most fascinating subject of all…


Alberto MdH said...

Well, the British did not take part in the Battle of Pontesampaio. In factthere was no significant British military presence in Galicia from the ill-fated John Moore expedition to the end of the war.

Alberto MdH said...

Also, the French troops left Galicia a little afterwards fearing being cut by Wellington, so, there were no mayor actions in Galicia afterwards (Pontesampaio itself wasn't very significant in the context of the war.

Colin Davies said...

Check on the presence of british ships un the bay of st julian(?) Which bombarded the french.

Colin Davies said...

The French began taking refuge in March and garrisoned the castle. More Spaniards, aided by an English frigate that was in the harbour, forced to the French garrison to surrender the castle. The French agreed this defeat provided that they could surrender to the English who were in the harbour.

Alberto MdH said...

Well, i don't know about the bay of st julian (¿Perhaps it is mistaken with Saint Simon?) but neither Pontesampaio had a castle in 1809 nor the french surrendered (after the failure to cross the Verdugo River, they withdrew to Santiago and, afterwards the left Galicia) Also the waters at the bottom of the Ría are too shallow to allow a frigate to operate.

The text is probably misplaced since a british frigate took part in the siege of Vigo (Which had two castles in 1809) There, the french took refuge in the castle after the spaniards broke through the walls and after choose to surrender to the british expecting (with reason) better treatment. But that action happened two months before (and a frigate wasn't a significant force by any means)

But, also, his majesty's army had no reason to displace a big force to a minor theatre that was away to the main operation area of the Peninsular War. As I said before, the actions in Galicia where relatively small (The biggest battle was that of Elviña, a british victory, but minor compared with the ones of the Iron Duke) and relatively short (The french entered in Galicia in January 1809 pursuing Moore and withdrew in July)

Colin Davies said...

Batalla de Puentesampayo

Guerra de Independencia Española en Guerras Napoleónicas
Fecha 7 de junio - 9 de junio de 1809
Lugar Puentesampayo, España
Resultado Victoria española
Bandera de Francia. I Imperio francés Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg Reino de España
Bandera de Francia. Michel Ney Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg Pablo Morillo y Morillo
Fuerzas en combate
10.800 soldados Soldados y milicia, unos 10.000
Guerra de la Independencia Española

La batalla de Puentesampayo o Ponte Sampaio fue un enfrentamiento armado de la Guerra de la Independencia Española que tuvo lugar en la localidad gallega de Puentesampayo (Pontesampaio en gallego, actualmente perteneciente al municipio de Pontevedra), entre el 7 y 9 de junio de 1809.

El coronel Pablo Morillo fue encargado de organizar y alistar a todas las fuerzas posibles en torno a la ciudad de Pontevedra para convertirlas en un ejército para la lucha contra los franceses. Una vez organizadas las tropas en lo que se denominó la División del Miño, Morillo recibió una petición de ayuda de Cachamuiña, quien se encontraba defendiendo Vigo.

Ambos jefes acordaron actuar conjuntamente y el ataque español sobre Vigo se saldó con éxito, obligando a la guarnición francesa a rendirse. El mismo Cachamuiña derribó con un hacha de mano la puerta de Gamboa.

Tras la rendición de la ciudad, la guarnición francesa fue embarcada en un buque británico para salvarla de la ira popular. Posteriormente, Morillo decidió atacar Marín, donde había un destacamento francés. Con la ayuda de dos buques ingleses, las tropas españolas atacaron por tierra y mar desde la península del Morrazo. La guarnición francesa de Marín huyó y se refugió en Pontevedra.

La acción decidida de las tropas españolas liberó prácticamente toda la provincia de Pontevedra excepto la capital. Mientras, Morillo dividió sus fuerzas en dos partes, la de El Morrazo y la de Cotobade, también llamada la unidad.

Morillo, organizado ya su ejército, decidió marchar hacia la ciudad de Pontevedra. Las tropas francesas se retiraron a Santiago de Compostela al enterarse del avance español, donde fueron reforzadas con otras tropas llegadas de La Coruña. Tras el nuevo vuelco de la situación, Morillo recibió el encargo de cortar el avance francés y decidió plantar batalla en Puentesampayo. Las tropas españolas cortaron dos arcos del puente sobre el río Verdugo y se atrincheraron en la orilla sur con la intención de detener el avance del Cuerpo de Ejército, mandado por el mariscal Michel Ney. Los defensores contaban con dos cañones facilitados por Antonio Gago, de Marín, y tres provenientes de Redondela. Al mando de la defensa del paso estuvo el alférez de navío Juan O'Dogherty Browne.

El 7 de junio, el mariscal Ney, al mando de 10.000 hombres, realizó un ataque frontal sobre el puente cortado, siendo rechazado con serias pérdidas. Al día siguiente, Ney ordenó a una parte de sus fuerzas que atacaran en Caldelas, dos leguas río arriba, cuyo puente no había sido destruido. Al otro lado del río, los paisanos de El Morrazo, Pontevedra y La Lama se atrincheraron con piedras y troncos de árboles. La batalla, al igual que en Puentesampayo, fue terrible. Los mamelucos, la caballería de élite del ejército francés, cargaron en tres ocasiones contra los voluntarios gallegos, que los rechazaron en otras tantas ocasiones.

El día 9, Ney convocó consejo de sus oficiales y decidió la retirada. Esta fue penosa porque el ejército francés resultó acosado por los guerrilleros que atacaban y mataban a los soldados rezagados. Las tropas de Ney se reunieron en Lugo con las de Jean de Dieu Soult que habían tenido que abandonar Portugal, y todos juntos se retiraron de Galicia en julio de 1809. El choque supuso la definitiva evacuación de Galicia por parte del ejército napoleónico y la creación de un nuevo frente para sus armas.

Alberto MdH said...

Yes, that is the usual report of the battle: A failed river crossing followed by a withdrawal (except that the wikipedists are over-enthusiastic implying that the french abandonment of Galicia was a consequence of the battle, it was more likely due to Wellington successes in Portugal) As you can see, in the Battle of Pontesampaio proper there were no British troops, no Castle, no frigate and no french surrender.

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